military vs militants

Egypt’s North Sinai: Residents stuck between Islamist rebels and brutal anti-terrorism operations

By Abir Sorour

Premium badge Reserved for subscribers

Posted on February 19, 2021 19:41

Military forces look on in North Sinai
Military forces look on in North Sinai, Egypt December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Ten years after the Arab Spring, residents of the restive peninsula are caught between threats of Islamist militants and the oppression of the Egyptian military and its affiliated militias.

Ten years ago in North Sinai, following the ouster of the then president Hosni Mubarak, *Ashraf, then a 15-year-old child, was accompanying his mother to stage a protest in front of one of the city’s burnt police stations in the Sheikh Zuwied district.

The protesters demanded the release of Ashraf’s father, who had been arrested in connection to the 2005 bombings that targeted South Sinai.

“While the whole country was celebrating freedom and democracy after Mubarak left, we were just starting to demand the most basic of our rights,” Ashraf, now a 26-year-old construction worker based in Suez, tells The Africa Report.

Economic and social marginalisation

Thousands of other North Sinai residents have for a long time been subjected to economic and social marginalisation in addition to radical state-sponsored violence like enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and extrajudicial killings.

There's more to this story

Get unlimited access to our exclusive journalism and features today. Our award-winning team of correspondents and editors report from over 54 African countries, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Abidjan to Abuja to Addis Ababa. Africa. Unlocked.

Subscribe Now

cancel anytime